Everything You Need to Know About Metal Detecting on the Beach
*Updated January 2023
A few years back much to my daughter's horror I was given a metal detector for Christmas. And so with glee, I unwrapped my new toy and sought out the hidden treasures I knew were waiting for me at every park and beach I came across. Maybe this year was the year your childhood dream came true and you got that metal detector you have always wanted. Well, today we are going to share with you everything you need to know to get started in the fun and adventurous sport of metal detecting. Soon you'll be enjoying slow early morning walks along our pristine beaches dreaming of treasure.
Know the Rules
The first thing any responsible detectorist does is make sure that he/she is aware of any local rules or ordinances regarding metal detecting in the area you plan on exploring. For example in many states (including North Carolina), you cannot metal detect in state parks or on state park beaches. This is mainly to protect the pristine nature of the parks, and often these parks incorporate historic sites where the preservation of artifacts is critical. Make sure to respect these rules, the fines are hefty.
Here on Ocean Isle Beach metal detecting is allowed on the beaches and with a few common sense guidelines you can have a fun and successful day combing the beach for hidden treasures.
Get Set Up
The first thing you need to do is get your set up dialed in for a day of combing the beaches for hidden treasure. There are some critical pieces of equipment you'll need to get started. Here is a list of everything you need:
The Detector - Metal detectors cost anywhere from $100 to $2,000 dollars, and with the advances in technology, the sky's the limit regarding options and capabilities. However, a good place to start for beach metal detecting is to choose a detector that has a waterproof coil. A waterproof coil will allow you more options when detecting along the waterline, which is one of the best places to metal detect on the beach.
Sand Scoop - A sand scoop is a critical piece of equipment for the beach. A sand scoop will prevent you from having to bend over while allowing you to scoop up treasures easily. With holes large enough to allow the sand to fall through, yet small enough to capture your treasures, this is a must-have piece of equipment for any enthusiast.
Headset - Make sure to have a headset to ensure that you don't disturb everyone on the beach with the constant dinging and pinging of your metal detector. A headset will also allow you to hear tones a lot better and thus find hidden treasures more accurately.
Pinpointer - If you don't have a pinpointer, get one. Nothing is more frustrating than getting a good tone with your detector only to be sifting thru sand to unable to find your treasure. Nine out of ten times the sand scoop will be all you need but you don't want to miss a great find because you didn't have a pinpointer.
Diggers Pouch - You will need to find a diggers pouch to put both your treasures and trash in. Remember to dig everything and don't forget to gather any trash while out hunting. A small pouch is all you need to get started.
Where to Metal Detect
As with anything, there are a wide variety of opinions about the best locations to metal detect. Of course, during the peak season, you're likely to be able to find coins, rings and odd pieces of jewelry almost anywhere due to a large number of folks on the beach. However, if you are in the off-season like this time of year there are a few areas that may give you better results.
- Along the piers- This is a great place to metal detect due to a large amount of traffic in the area. Additionally, people often drop things from the piers. The wave action is also unique along the pier due to the
pilings which gives
- After rain- A wonderful time to detect is after a rainstorm, which reduces the level of the sand, and causes washouts that will allow previously undetected targets to appear.
- Low Tide- When the tide goes out a whole new opportunity presents itself. Make sure to explore further out when the tide goes out.
- High Tide- As the tide comes in the wave action allows previously unfound targets to be churned up. Take some time as the tide comes in to explore the waterline.
- Drop Off- Look for places where the tide has created drop-offs of sand or other interesting washouts. These drop-offs are perfect places to find targets that you would otherwise miss.
The Ethics of Metal Detecting
- Never ever dig or disturb the dunes.
- Always remove any trash you dig.
- Respect all private property and signs, gates, or restricted areas.
- Always fill in your excavations, leave no trace.
- Respect the space of other beachgoers.
Benefits of Metal Detecting
Here on Ocean Isle Beach, there is truly something for everyone in your family to do. From kayaking to metal detecting there is simply no shortage of ways to get out and explore our beautiful island during your Ocean Isle Beach vacation. If you have a favorite activity that you enjoy we would love to hear about it. Just leave us a comment below. Until then we look forward to seeing you on OIB soon.